How to Use S Log 2 and S Log 3 on the Sony a7S II
One of the first questions everyone asks when they first shoot with an a7S II is “how do I get it into S Log?” Probably the default now is to shoot with the Sony a7S II in some sort of log profile. But that doesn’t mean Sony has made the process clear or simple.
Activating S Log 2 / S Log 3
Buried deep within the 5th camera sub-menu, you will find Picture Profile. Inside, you will find 10 preset slots that you can modify and customize. But by default, PP7 will be set up for S Log 2 and PP8 will be set up for S Log 3. To customize, select any of them by pressing right on the control wheel. Here, you will see a bunch of options you can fine-tune, such as Saturation and Black Level. But you can also select your Gamma Curve - which is where you will find S Log 2 and 3.
Shooting in S Log
With your chosen Picture Profile active, you will find that the lowest ISO you can shoot in S Log is 1600. The camera simply will not allow you to select anything lower. That means that any subject outdoors or brightly lit is going to require ND filters if you want to keep your shutter speed and aperture down. That said, the conventional wisdom holds that overexposing your image by about 2 stops gets you a cleaner final product, so the high ISO may not be as much of a liability as you imagine.
Shooting in Other Picture Profiles
Having hyped up the gradability of S Log 2 and 3, it may seem strange to now entertain the idea of shooting in any other profile. But the truth is that S Log is not a magic bullet, and it may be completely the wrong tool for some situations. The 8-bit recording format of the a7S II means that if your exposure or white balance is too far off-base, then the log profile will be almost impossible to pull back to center. Similarly, recording at anything less than 100mbps will severely impact your ability to heavily grade the footage. For these reasons, many pro shooters have swung around to ignoring S Log 2 and S Log 3 in favor of other, less extreme profiles.
The secret is all in the Picture Profile menu, where you can load up S Log 2 or S Log 3, as well as customize half a dozen other settings. But 8-bit log footage isn’t always the best tool for the job, and the other profiles there are equally worth exploring.